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 Post subject: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Edited version of a story at Trains Newswire at www.trains.com:

MOUNT UNION, Pa. – The East Broad Top Railroad is offering 100 narrow gauge hopper cars for sale, according to railroad President Joe Kovalchick. These cars, with a capacity of 30 or 35 tons, have been in storage since the railroad shut down in 1956. The asking price is $7,500 each.

Kovalchick says an ad placed in a trade magazine has generated lots of interest. "We're getting responses," Kovalchick tells Trains News Wire. "They want them primarily for the undercarriage, the trucks, couplers and center sills." There was even a call from someone California who wanted two for his back yard. "Maybe he wants them for planters.”

At its peak, the EBT had about 275 steel hoppers in service, hauling coal from mines around Robertsdale to Mount Union, where the coal was prepared and loaded into standard gauge cars for shipment.

After the railroad closed, a few hoppers were sold to museums and other narrow gauge lines. The White Pass & Yukon purchased 15 cars in 1968 for ballast service, and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic got five cars about 10 years ago.

<end quote>

By my estimation, this would amount to most of the hoppers left in Mount Union. Now, while we'll concede that most of those are "wrecks" that have trees growing through them, have rusted clean through, etc., IF the railroad ends up selling off many or most of these hoppers, does it detract from the railroad as potential "time capsule" preservation? Does there come a point where we have to concede we're not going to see the entire railroad preserved, and just focus on the bits that are left?


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Pardon the pun, but perhaps the train has left the station for the chance to preserve the entire EBT intact.

Perhaps the best plan is to focus efforts on preservation of bits and pieces, like FEBT's work at the shops.

How many cars would this leave EBT? In some ways, selling them is better than seeing them rot in place at Mt. Union.

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:53 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Assuming you're not a few days early, I'm sorry to hear this. However, the last time I visited I noticed many were in very poor shape, rusting away.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:17 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:50 pm
Posts: 148
Location: MD
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

IF the railroad ends up selling off many or most of these hoppers, does it detract from the railroad as potential "time capsule" preservation? Does there come a point where we have to concede we're not going to see the entire railroad preserved, and just focus on the bits that are left?


You hit the nail on the head. This absolutely ruins the unique draw that the EBT has. The fact that this is a mostly intact surviving railroad from the early 20th century is what makes the EBT so special. They might as well scrap all of the steam locomotives that are currently inoperable and spit on the graves of everyone who has worked to keep this railroad complete since 1956. Anyone can operate a few miles of run down track with dilapidated equipment, but it takes dedication, commitment, hard work and cubic dollars to maintain an intact railroad from the turn of the 20th century. This is not an impossible task especially when the line has such a devout following. Now it seems those in charge are just playing trains. The EBT is now, or soon will be just another roadside attraction(If were lucky). Hope I'm wrong. Id rather see these hoppers rust in peace than turned into a planter for some weirdos industrial-chic garden.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2438
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
alcoguy1 wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

IF the railroad ends up selling off many or most of these hoppers, does it detract from the railroad as potential "time capsule" preservation? Does there come a point where we have to concede we're not going to see the entire railroad preserved, and just focus on the bits that are left?


You hit the nail on the head. This absolutely ruins the unique draw that the EBT has. The fact that this is a mostly intact surviving railroad from the early 20th century is what makes the EBT so special. They might as well scrap all of the steam locomotives that are currently inoperable and spit on the graves of everyone who has worked to keep this railroad complete since 1956. Anyone can operate a few miles of run down track with dilapidated equipment, but it takes dedication, commitment, hard work and cubic dollars to maintain an intact railroad from the turn of the 20th century. This is not an impossible task especially when the line has such a devout following. Now it seems those in charge are just playing trains. The EBT is now, or soon will be just another roadside attraction(If were lucky). Hope I'm wrong. Id rather see these hoppers rust in peace than turned into a planter for some weirdos industrial-chic garden.


While your emotional sentiment is understandable, your argument doesn't make good logical sense. Here is why:

1. The EBT isn't "Preserved" in large part. The hopper cars they are selling are not in restored or even stabilized shape. Instead, they are sitting where they have since 1956, decaying.

2. Your statement that they should scrap the inoperable locomotives also is without sense. The locomotives are all preserved, indoors. In most cases, they aren't getting any worse by sitting in the roundhouse at Orbsonia or in the engine house at Mt. Union.

3. The railroad has been decaying piecemeal for decades now. They've already sold off some hopper cars in the past. They even sold an 0-6-0 at some point, so the railroad has been slowly downsizing through sale or decay since 1956. In addition to the hoppers and the locomotive, I can think of a covered water tank and a depot that have been disassembled due to decay. It's only a matter of time before that concrete arch bridge spalls itself into oblivion.

4. While the line has a devout following, other than the excellent work done by FEBT volunteers on the main shops and other projects, this devout following has not transformed into a viable plan to save and preserve the entire railroad. The current ownership has done what it can do, but they aren't even "playing train" as you allege anymore as they didn't operate last year.

The EBT is one of those places that raises a lot of emotions in the preservation and enthusiast community. It is a unique site to see. You can walk amongst shop buildings that are as they were the last day the railroad ran. The railroad maintained all of the patterns, and many spare parts. It's something "authentic" that you can't really find in very many places anymore. Still, with all of that authenticity comes a price and possibly a choice. What can you do now to ensure as much of the railroad and the most important parts are around for future generations to study and appreciate?

As sad as it may be, cold hard reality is starting to set in to those who own the EBT. You may not be able to save it all, but you may be able to save the most important pieces. If the EBT were to wither down to the current operational line, the shops and offices at Orbsonia, I think you'd have a great attraction of significant historical value. While it's fun to dream of reopening the entire railroad, recreating lost structures (timber transfer, coal sorting facility), I just don't see it happening. I'd rather see a diminished EBT than no EBT at all.

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:52 am 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I'm a huge fan of the ET&WNC, another eastern 3-footer (but one that was ripped up in 1950). The very few cars from that RR today that still exist were almost all sold off to private owners and restored much later on. If they hadn't been sold off, there would only be the rolling stock that was sold off that eventually made it to Tweetsie RR in 1957.
So, I'm all in favor of EBT selling the hoppers as opposed to them meeting the torch. And I'm a little shocked to hear there are people who are fine with them rusting away in place...

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:05 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:39 am
Posts: 534
How many hoppers are there in service now? I know I have seen some on photo freights. I would think if there are enough for a decent photo freight (8? 10?) that the rest are a burden other than for parts to keep some running. No one thinks they will move coal again do they?


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:21 am
Posts: 535
Location: Yardley, PA (near Phila)
October 12th, 2008:

Image

Wild site - an unadvertised attraction in it's own right. It's nice to see that EBT
is looking for an infusion of cash but with it, another piece of history will vanish and EBT will become a little less unique and distinguishable from many other short tourist lines. Fortunately, less for EBT is still leaves room for an impressive site with it's shops, roundhouse and surviving equipment on the southern end.

/Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
Who is to say that some EBT fans buys a couple of cars, restores them and someday brings them back to Orbisonia for display/photo freight use?

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:44 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:00 am
Posts: 524
Location: Dallas ,Texas. USA
The photo of the tree growing between the wheel and the side frame, is really disturbing.

Great photo, but disturbing interaction between the tree and the side frame, and the side frame will loose that battle. Since that photo is 5 years old, it could have already lost the battle to the tree.

FEBT members, please note the location.

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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:46 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Jeff Lisowski wrote:
Loco112 wrote:
The photo of the tree growing between the wheel and the side frame, is really disturbing.

Great photo, but disturbing interaction between the tree and the side frame, and the side frame will loose that battle. Since that photo is 5 years old, it could have already lost the battle to the tree.

FEBT members, please note the location.


I tried to find them on Google maps but couldn't.


South leg of the wye, directly east of the pond. I think they're not far from where the coal dock was. Visible on google maps if you look closely.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:52 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:24 am
Posts: 59
Location: Michigan
Jeff Lisowski wrote:
Loco112 wrote:
The photo of the tree growing between the wheel and the side frame, is really disturbing.

Great photo, but disturbing interaction between the tree and the side frame, and the side frame will loose that battle. Since that photo is 5 years old, it could have already lost the battle to the tree.

FEBT members, please note the location.


I tried to find them on Google maps but couldn't.


Ask and you shall receive:
http://goo.gl/maps/J7MQ7


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
Bobharbison wrote:
South leg of the wye, directly east of the pond. I think they're not far from where the coal dock was. Visible on google maps if you look closely.


Nope. THESE cars are up in Mount Union. The "tree tunnel" to the left is a section of dual-gauge track rehabbed as the "Mount Union Connecting Railroad" about 10-15 years ago, in part to force the state to retain a crossing when the Rt. 522 Mt. Union bypass and new bridge were built.

The surviving cars are divided between Mt. Union and Orbisonia. I would estimate the number of cars rebuilt for freight/charter service to be about ten, including a ballast hopper with side-dump doors. Word is that the journal brasses have been stolen out of EVERY other car in Mt. Union, and a great many/most in Orbisonia, though it's possible the RR "removed them for safekeeping" or whatnot......

The ramp built at Mt. Union to load up the hoppers that were sent to the White Pass & Yukon is still evident, nearly fifty years later.


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:16 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:11 am
Posts: 23
I don't view this as a bad thing for the railroad. As it has been noted in a previous post, they have slowly been selling things off for years, equipment, land, etc. If they were starting to remove things from Orbisonia, then I would begin to worry. Also be thankful he is offering them for sale. Remember the Kovalchick's are scrappers. They could have just as easily begun scrapping the cars.
On a side note, is there any historical value to the standard gage air dump cars that are in mount union. If any group wanted them, this might be the time. Below is a link showing one of the cars. Note: Not my pictures.
http://gwenix.org/~adams/ebt/1996/dump1.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: East Broad Top Selling Off Hopper Cars
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:36 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Those standard gage side dump cars look like Clark Equipment Co. cars from the 1920s; not very common anymore. I think these would fall into the "mechanical bear trap" classification for potential use/operation as a dump car.

Howard P.

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